Apr 13, 2017

2017 Shopper Marketing Summit Recap: Trends and Innovators

shopper marketing summit recap Menasha is proud to be a sponsor of the annual Shopper Marketing Summit presented by the Path to Purchase Institute.
This unique event is an exciting exchange of ideas between industry thought leaders, brands, retailers, and others who come together to better understand how to reach shoppers.
As consumer behavior evolves at a rapid pace, it’s become increasingly important to stay on top of trends so that CPGs and retailers can adjust their strategies. This summit is a time to discover what’s on the horizon while recognizing those who are developing creative ways to drive sales and improve the shopping experience.
The 2017 Shopper Marketing Summit took place March 28th in New York City. Here’s a look at three key takeaways discussed at the event as well as award-winning campaigns illustrating the kind of innovation that’s needed to succeed in today’s highly competitive retail marketplace.

Takeaway #1: Importance of an Omni-channel Strategy

There is no longer a clear distinction between online retailers and brick-and-mortar. Retailers need to continue investing in a digital strategy even as ecommerce operations experiment with physical locations.
Omni-channel retailing requires a strategy that creates a seamless shopping experience among websites, mobile apps, social media, traditional advertising, and what the consumer encounters in the store. The “seamless” part is what separates an omni-channel approach from a multi-channel approach. Cohesive campaigns that integrate various channels are most effective.
Menasha’s Jeff Krepline says the focus of many speakers at the 2017 Shopper Marketing Summit sought to answer a question plenty of CPGs are asking … “Where did the shoppers go?”
The short answer is that consumers are everywhere. Krepline says that’s due, in part, to changes in consumer behavior. People enter retail stores with a list of items or tasks to accomplish. They don’t need to browse the aisles because they’ve already been checking things out on digital channels.
“There’s more preplanning today,” Krepline explains. “What used to be a true shopping event is now just a buying event. Trips are planned. Research is done online ahead of time, and shoppers know what they want to buy.”
Industry Example:
Hershey’s and Dollar General received an Effie Award at Shopper Marketing Summit for an Easter campaign in which the discount store and candy brand joined forces to implement an effective omni-channel strategy.

Dollar General shoppers are typically on a budget, and candy may not be a “must-have.” Hershey’s addressed this with an online campaign to help customers build their own virtual Easter basket that fit their lifestyle. This strategy assisted consumers with preplanning and online research, so when they visited the store, they were ready to buy something they knew they could afford.
Read more at TheHersheyCompany.com.

Takeaway #2: Trends in Consumer Preferences

Whether it’s in stores or online, shoppers are willing to pay more for products with certain attributes. Specifically, wallets are opening up for things perceived as healthier and locally made. Smaller startup brands have been growing at a rapid pace, and major CPGs are taking notice.
Many of these startup brands, including Annie’s Organics, Bolthouse Farms, and Dollar Shave Club, are being acquired by large companies. But, Krepline says the big players are allowing these acquisitions to operate as separate business units so that they can learn from the smaller brands.
According to Nielsen, between 2011 and 2015, large food and beverage companies experienced 3 percent growth while midsize companies drove close to half of category growth. Research from Nielsen also observed that consumers are ready to pay extra for premium products, which are items that cost at least 20 percent more than average.
Such premium products often fall into the category of organic food and beverage or personal care merchandise that’s considered healthier. Shoppers are also willing to pay more for brands demonstrating corporate responsibility with charitable campaigns, environmentally-friendly products, and sustainability efforts. Today’s consumers are attracted to brands connected to a cause they believe in.
Industry Examples:
Unilever and Walgreens received an Effie Award at Shopper Marketing Summit for a campaign that allowed shoppers to change lives and make their purchases matter. The #GiveH2OPE campaign drove awareness about the global water crisis and delivered clean water to people in Kenya.

good-thins-sweet-potato.pngThe Nabisco snack brand, GOOD THiNS, needed to improve its image with health food shoppers. It makes crackers with wholesome ingredients like spinach and sweet potato, but most people don’t view crackers as a particularly healthy choice.
GOOD THiNS implemented the Try SomeTHiN Good program at Walmart, Albertsons, and Meijer to convince consumers that snack crackers can be both flavorful and nutritious.
The brand also used an omni-channel strategy by enlisting food bloggers to help spread the word.

Takeaway #3: Improve the Experience for Shoppers

Krepline notes that most American consumers are in a much better place financially than they were during the 2008 recession. Shoppers have more discretionary income, but they’re often choosing to spend that money on experiences rather than material goods.
Doug Stephens, founder of Retail Prophet, was a keynote speaker at Shopper Marketing Summit this year. In his presentation on the future of the retail store, he suggested that brick-and-mortars need to adjust the way they view themselves.
“Physical stores are becoming media,” he said. “The physical store is actually the most powerful, measurable, and manageable form of media that we all have at our disposal, but it takes a fundamental mind shift: we have to stop thinking about stores as places that distribute products – but experience.”
Stephens also said the purpose of stores should evolve into a way to create converts for brands. That’s something Krepline agrees is important but will prove challenging.
“Today the shopper is at an all-time low for brand loyalty,” Krepline explains. “People are much more willing to try something new, and they are sick of showing up at brick-and-mortars only to find the stores don’t have what they need.”
The bottom line? Brands and retailers need to combine efforts to develop products and create shopping experiences that improve the lives of consumers. That can be done by making it easier to find what they need and decide what to buy. Or, it can mean developing products that stand out on the shelf by showcasing what makes them special.
There is plenty of hand-wringing among retailers concerning the rise of Amazon, which seems to be able to meet practically every shopper’s needs with a quick click. However, Shopper Marketing Summit keynote speaker, Wendy Liebman, believes shoppers are turning to Amazon because physical stores fail to engage them in the first place. She says retailers and brands need to provide a shopping experience that is easier, kinder, and shows consumers they care about making life more convenient.
Industry Examples:
2017 Effie Award winner Johnson & Johnson showed consumers it cares with cold and flu season care packages that parents could send to college students. The College Care Essentials were sold at Walmart stores and created a new market for Johnson & Johnson’s upper respiratory line.

Unilever and Walgreens also won an Effie Award after teaming up to launch a shopping experience that made it easier for people to pick their deodorant. Unilever’s Do Deo Better initiative re-engaged shoppers by creating a color-coded system to guide people on their path-to-purchase, helping them identify the right product. Do Deo Better gives shoppers the information they need to make a purchasing decision quickly and easily, which saves busy consumers a little time.

Create Your Award-Winning Idea with Help from Menasha

We were extremely excited to see many of the brands and retailers Menasha works with receive Effie Awards at the Shopper Marketing Summit this year. 
Innovative packaging design, eye-catching retail displays, and even supply chain solutions can play major roles in the goal of reaching shoppers with a memorable experience. Menasha is honored to have helped our clients develop solutions that keep them relevant in an ever-changing world. Get in touch with Menasha today to find out how we can partner with your brand.